Skip to main content

Point of View: Who Was That Sobersides?

Wed, 02/28/2024 - 17:08

I was talking with some of my tennis peers at East Hampton Indoor the other morning, and we agreed that it was easier for us to move forward, in the hope of returning a drop shot, say, than to move — stagger in our case — backward when lobbed.

Which is why, when the pros in clinics urge us to move closer to the net when our partners are about to serve, we don’t, preferring instead to camp out at the service line, no matter that it’s the dreaded “no man’s land.”

“I remember the summer I lost a step,” I said to them. “I was 31. I wrote a column about it that began ‘Lost: One step. If found, please contact The Star and ask for Jack.’ ”

They were amused by that, but when I added that I’d lost “a few other things since” — one of which served as the subject of a column that I recently entered in the New York State Press Association contest, I was waved off. They knew, they knew, no need to get specific . . . that was life.

“I don’t think I’ll win,” I said to Mary after submitting it. “The columns are supposed to be ‘issue-oriented,’ though I suppose I could tell the judges I thought they were to be ‘tissue-oriented.’ ”

I’ve just returned from having leafed through some of The Star’s bound volumes downstairs, and saw no mention of losing a step in any of my 1971 columns, which, by the way, I was chagrined to find were unvaryingly issue-oriented. Who was that sobersides? Those “Point of View” columns, by the way, didn’t appear on the editorial page, and justly so given the fact that better writers than me, Ev Rattray, Otis Pike, and Arthur Roth among them, took up all the room.

When I told Mary recently that 1979, the year Georgie and Johnna were born, was the year that I was reborn, I wasn’t kidding. With that weight of sobriety removed, or partly removed, I began to become myself.

Your support for The East Hampton Star helps us deliver the news, arts, and community information you need. Whether you are an online subscriber, get the paper in the mail, delivered to your door in Manhattan, or are just passing through, every reader counts. We value you for being part of The Star family.

Your subscription to The Star does more than get you great arts, news, sports, and outdoors stories. It makes everything we do possible.